On 11 December 2019, Agriculture [quarantine] advised that effective 01 January 2020 that:

  • Air Full Import Declarations will increase from $33 to $38 and
  • Sea Full Import Declarations will increase from $42 to $49

Full Import Declaration [FID] charges are a flat fee charged per customs entry; these charges are for goods valued over $1000 AUD. They are not the same as Agriculture [Quarantine] inspection fees which are charged when the goods are inspected by Agriculture. A customs broker does all of the biosecurity assessment before lodging the FID.

On my calculations, air declarations will increase by approximately 15% and sea declarations by 17%.

In 2018, there were:

  • 2,336,347 Air Full Import Declarations [FID’s]
  • 1,691,654 Sea Full Import Declarations [FID’s]

My calculations reflect that Agriculture will gross new revenue of about $23,523,313:

  • 2,336,347 x $5 [increase] $11,681,735
  • 1,691,654 x $7 [increase] $11,841,578

But, let’s not forget that Self-Assessed Clearances [goods under $1000 AUD] and goods that enter via the postal network [parcel post] do not incur any increase.

It is in my opinion that any levy should be placed on the risk instead of a blanket increase.

I also believe that goods that arrive via the postal network which requires a 100% check should have an increase on the declaration fee [as the risk is higher and the labour involved is higher]. 

Air cargo poses less of a risk than sea freight [as sea freight has higher volumes].

A few questions to ponder:

  • If packing declarations [which are required for sea freight cargo] is a productive risk mitigating tool – then why do sea freight declaration charges need to increase by $11m?
  • If storage declarations [which are required for sea freight cargo that has been fumigated] is a productive risk mitigating tool – then why do sea freight declaration charges need to increase by $11m?

This extra $23m will not provide better document processing services with Agriculture and this levy will only continue to increase over time.

As a side note- last week the Government advised that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment and Energy will merge [to save money].

* Peter McRae is the founder and CEO of Platinum Freight Management

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